From the Bizarro Department, the penny-pinching, smaller-government Obama Administration continues to look into saving money by closing the Veterans Administration facility in Hot Springs:
...the VA is moving forward with an environmental impact study on closing the century-old historic Hot Springs facility — a medical treatment and rehabilitation center with inpatient and nursing home units — and rebuilding in Rapid City.
...The VA says an economic analysis has shown that restructuring its facilities in western South Dakota would be cheaper and more efficient than trying to fix the aging facilities in Hot Springs. The environmental impact study is required by law to look at the plan's environmental, social and economic effects ["VA to Do Study on Closing Hot Springs Facility," AP via Black Hills Pioneer, 2014.01.08].
The VA’s Black Hills Health Care System proposal, the Veterans Department said, was to enhance the delivery of high-quality, safe and accessible care closer to veterans in parts of four states [Christopher Doering, "VA ADvances Closure of Hot Springs Facility," that Sioux Falls paper, 2014.01.08].
South Dakota's liberal Congressional delegation is outraged at this move toward more efficient service provision and demands bigger federal spending in health care:
"I am deeply disappointed that the VA is now looking to move forward on a plan that many South Dakota veterans are adamantly opposed to and that could jeopardize the care those who have fought for our country need and deserve," [Congresswoman Kristi] Noem said in a statement [AP, 2013.01.08].
In defense of the Hot Springs VA facility, local government-run health care activist Patrick Russell launched this broadside against private sector health care:
Russell noted that closing the Hot Springs facility will mean “veterans will travel farther to wait in longer lines to receive their care. Or they will be forced to obtain their care in private sector facilities that do not have the capacity to care for more patients or the knowledge, skills and abilities to diagnose or treat illness and injury common to wounded warriors” ["VA Opts to Move Forward with 2011 Plan," Rapid City Journal, 2014.01.08].
Expect Noem to face tough questions from her 2014 election challenger about her defense of costly, inefficient government-run health care.